Tory donors splash out for time with ministers at lavish fundraiser

Owzat! Wealthy Tory donors splash out £35,000 for cricket with Rishi Sunak, £22,000 for karaoke with Liz Truss and £25,000 for dinner with Michael Gove at lavish Black and White Ball party fundraiser

  • One paid £35,000 to play cricket with Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the auction
  • Among the other hot items was karaoke session with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss
  • Dinner with party-loving Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove went for £25,000 

Wealthy Tory donors poured more than £100,000 into party coffers last night for the chance to rub shoulders – and take to the cricket pitch – with senior Cabinet ministers.

One paid £35,000 to play cricket with Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the auction at the lavish annual Winter Party – formerly known as the Black and White Ball.

Among the other hot items at the fundraiser was the chance to belt out pop classics in a karaoke session with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, which went for £22,000.

And dinner with the party-loving Levelling-Up Secretary Michael Gove went for £25,000, according to the Sun, though it is unclear if it included dancing afterwards.

As well as access to senior ministers, one Tory donor is said to have paid £30,000 for a Get Brexit Done sign used by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the 2019 election campaign. 


Buffet and bowling: Tory donors paid £25,000 for dinner with Michael Gove and £35,000 for an hour of cricket with Chancellor Rishi Sunak (both pictured today in Downing Street)

Boris Johnson attended the party in between votes on what was a torrid day for the Prime Minister

Singing the blues: Among the other hot items at the fundraiser was the chance to belt out pop classics in a karaoke session with Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, which went for £22,000

As well as access to senior ministers, one Tory donor is said to have paid £30,000 for a Get Brexit Done sign used by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the 2019 election campaign

The opulent event came as pressure mounted on Mr Johnson to raise his game today after a major rebellion on social care and anger at his shambolic speech to business chiefs.

The PM is gathering his Cabinet after 19 MPs fired a warning shot by voting against watering down the cap on care costs last night, while dozens more abstained.

The government’s plan still went through due to its huge 77-strong majority – but alarm bells are sounding in Downing Street after the margin was slashed to just 26.

The blow came after Mr Johnson put on a chaotic performance at the CBI conference, with the hall left in awkward silence for more than 20 seconds after he lost his thread.

He also raised eyebrows with an extended tangent on children’s cartoon character Peppa Pig, made car engine noises, and compared himself to Moses.

The bewildering scenes – hot on the heels of the debacle over sleaze triggered by Mr Johnson’s abortive bid to save ally Owen Paterson from punishment for lobbying – have sparked a wave of vicious briefing.

Mr Johnson went on to reference Peppa Pig in a second speech he did last night, at a conference for the CPS thinktank, before mentioning the animated porcine hero at the ball. 

One Government source swiped that Mr Johnson, still suffering a heavy cold, seemed to have had ‘a bit too much Lemsip’. Even Downing Street insiders reportedly laid into the premier, with one telling the Times there had been ‘stumble after stumble’ and ‘people are sharpening their knives’.

A senior Downing Street source told the BBC: ‘There is a lot of concern inside the building about the PM … it’s just not working. Cabinet needs to wake up and demand serious changes.’

Although Mr Johnson does not appear to be under imminent threat, the situation appears to be becoming more serious by the day.

He came under fire on another front last night when a Cabinet minister publicly joined a push for taxes to be cut, after the burden rose to the highest level in peacetime.

In a rare public intervention on domestic policy, former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost said low taxes were ‘the formula for success as a country’.

He also said the UK must move away from EU rules so Britain can ‘step up and compete at a global level’.

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